Mother Nature has established the most efficient growth and dormant cycle to promote plant growth as well as nutrient rich soil. Just think about the seasons and you'll get an idea of how this works. Spring is a period of renewal; summer is a time of proliferation, autumn a stage for shedding and winter a phase of dormancy.
Man, of course, has disrupted this natural cycle in one simple way in their gardens. As the leaves in autumn begin to fall and mess up the lawn, we rake them away and dispose of them. These leaves are a vital source of nutrients for the soil, plants, and trees in the garden and also provide a level of protection from the cold and frost during winter.
The reason that we are so eager to get rid of the fall leaves is for two different reasons, one because they do not look good just lying around, and two because they are unlikely to decompose totally over the winter season. Mulching can, however, speed up the decomposition process releasing those nutrients into the soil much faster. So here are a few ideas for mulching that will help out your landscaping.
What Is Mulching?
Mulching is simply a process of chopping and shredding up leaves into much smaller pieces for them to decompose faster. The process should result in chopping up leaves to the consistency of confetti to be the most effective. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will decompose.
How To Mulch Fall Leaves?
You can purchase a mulching mower which will chop up the leaves quickly and is easy to use. Alternatively, find out if you can buy a mulching blade for your existing lawn mower. There are also leaf mulching machines available that allow you to feed the material into a machine that reduces the leaves to a smaller size.
However, the last method is probably the least popular as it is more labor intensive but is ideal for creating a compost heap. It involves raking up the leaves to be placed in the mulching machine and then redistributing them over your garden. Mulching mowers are much less time consuming and require less hard work and therefore the recommended route.
What Are The Disadvantages?
After winter is over weather starts to warm, you may want to remove the remainder of the decomposed leaves. Leaving the mulch could result in a musty odor in your garden and could simply not be nice to look at. You may also get some complaints from neighbors that you haven't cleaned your yard. However, you can use this as an opportunity to educate them on the benefits of mulching.
What Are The Benefits Of Mulching?
The most significant advantage is that you will save money on having to purchase fertilizers and compost to provide the nutrients your garden needs. It is also an effective weed control agent and will protect your lawn, plants, and tree roots as well as ground cover during the cold winter months.
So this fall, leave those leaves and mulch them up to take advantage of Mother Nature's gifts.